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The possibility of performing synthetic-aperture-radar (s.a.r.) processing on board a satellite is of current interest to the European Space Agency (ESA). A brief outline of the fundamental principles and capabilities of s.a.r. is given, and several real-time processor configurations are discussed, in terms of their suitability for use on board a satellite. In particular, the applicability of new signal-processing technologies is considered, since only these can provide suitable devices for the implementation of an on-board processor.